Friday, November 24, 2006

How to buy a boat Part 2 - Day 535

As soon as you find the vessel that is the best compromise for your conflicting needs (like space vs. money), the lies start. Lies. For instance, every broker you talk to has several people who are going to be looking at the boat you are interested in within the next couple of days. I have sold several boats. The number of people looking at your boat at any given time is usually zero. So when a broker tells you of all the people that are looking at the boat you are looking at he is telling preposterous lie. In the last year every broker I talked to told a new twist on the same old lie: Nobody looked at this boat for months, and then all of a sudden I have been getting a ton of calls to look at it. Ton of calls all of a sudden = you. It is like brokers everywhere get together and decide that the old line isn't working anymore and that they better use a new one.

The next batch of lies you will get in buying the boat are the reasons the boat is getting sold and the condition it is in. Health reasons, devorce, and disinterested children seem to be the top three. Like anything in life, the reason for selling a boat are a little more complex. I find that keeping up with the maintenance on the boat is the real main reason for selling a boat, and most boats for sale show lack of any real maintenance. The most important thing to realize is that ANY boat you buy has problems, expecially if it is brand new or looks brand new.

This is the crux of the problem: When you buy a boat, everyone is lying to you. The broker is lying (even your broker - see the book "Freakonomics" to understand this), the manufacturer is bending the truth as much as possible (see Catalina tell you how their boats are world cruising vessels), the owner hides the truth as much as possible, and the magazines are implicit in not exposing any of the above three parties who pay so dearly needed advertising dollars.

This is the solution: Buy someone you trust. Surveyors. Surveyors can be part of the problem expecially if they are recommended by the broker or buyer. The best bet is to find one yourself and then pay them well and give them plenty of time to find the problems. Not really sure, get two surveyors. There is absolutely nothing more expensive than saving money on a surveyor. One problem on a 30,000 dollar boat can take more than that to fix. Spending a couple grand on a surveyor is the best money you will ever spend on a boat.

I found my surveyor by reading. My surveyor came up in several books and magazine articles, and oddly enough he was also on the list my broker recommended. It took a month to get a survey scheduled. The owners hate waiting, the broker howled citing the above "other people are looking at this boat" rule. Ignore all of this. DO NOT BUY A BOAT UNLESS A SURVEYOR YOU TRUST SPENDS AND ENTIRE DAY GOING THROUGH THE BOAT. The buyer and seller will have twenty other solutions other than waiting the month to get your surveyor look at the boat and will put unbelievable pressure on you to do otherwise. Pressure filled with lies.

No comments: